Chasemaster Virat Kohli (95 off 104 balls, 8×4, 2×6) ensured India set the record straight against New Zealand, who they had struggled to beat at an ICC event since 2003, with a gritty four-wicket victory with 12 balls to spare at a cloud-covered HPCA Stadium on Sunday. Interestingly, Team India also rubbished the theory that catches win matches after Ravindra Jadeja, KL Rahul and Jasprit Bumrah dropped a catch each to help the Kiwis register their highest total against India in World Cups—273 all out.
New Zealand’s Daryl Mitchell celebrates his century against India
Daryl Mitchell was the chief architect, collecting 130 off 127 balls (9×4, 5×6), but not before being dropped twice en route. A 159-run stand for the third wicket with the in-form No. 3 Rachin Ravindra (75 off 87, 6×4, 1×6) saw the Kiwis set to post a 325-plus total, being 200 for three around the 37th over. However, some sweet, late pace from Shami, who was picked for his first game of this World Cup, and ended up with his third ODI fifer (5-54), ensured the Kiwis were curtailed.
Solid start by Rohit, Gill
India skipper Rohit Sharma (46 off 40, 4×4, 4×6) and Shubman Gill (26 off 31, 5×4) kicked off the chase in style with a heady mix of lofty hits along with some stylish strokeplay before the former departed following an inside edge onto his stumps off pacer Lockie Ferguson. Gill followed suit, giving a thick edge to Mitchell at deep third man off Ferguson. Shreyas Iyer was the next to go after a breezy 33 off 29 (6×4).
Mohammed Shami celebrates a wicket
Kohli however, hung around, even negotiating a rare mist cover that engulfed the stadium and halted play briefly, besides losing partners at the other end. Rahul (27) was trapped in front by NZ spinner Mitchell Santner after which a horrendous run out mix-up ruined Suryakumar Yadav’s (2) World Cup debut. Jadeja (39 not out off 44, 3×4, 1×6) gave Kohli good company before the latter, in his bid to get to his century with just five runs left for victory, holed out in the deep.
While India’s five-out of-five wins at the tournament will be the talk of the town, their dropped catches will surely be a point of discussion at the next team meeting, considering fielding coach T Dilip has introduced a medal system to reward the best fielder in every match.
Jadeja dropped the first catch in the 11th over. Ravindra, who was on 12 then, tried to force Shami on the off-side, but only managed to push the ball to Jadeja, who couldn’t hold on to it at backward point. India stumper Rahul then failed to hold on to a Mitchell edge off Jadeja when the New Zealander was 59 in the 30th over. Three overs later, Bumrah dropped Mitchell in the deep off Kuldeep Yadav and let the ball slip away for a boundary.